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Sports

Embattled Blatter launches last appeal against Fifa ban

media Sepp Blatter arrives at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland Reuters/Pierre Albouy

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter mounted his final appeal this Thursday against his six-year ban from football, in a long-shot quest for redemption after his career ended in scandal.

Blatter was at the world's top sports court on Thursday for a one-day hearing seeking to overturn a suspension imposed by Fifa over ethics violations.

"I will accept the verdict," Blatter, told journalists outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. "I do hope it will be positive for me. But we are footballers, we learn to win but also we learn to lose."

The case that triggered Blatter's downfall first emerged in September of last year, when Swiss prosecutors said they were investigating him over a suspect 1.8 million euros he authorised in 2011 to his one-time heir apparent, Michel Platini.

Platini, the former head of European football, was also sanctioned by Fifa over the funds. The Frenchman lost his CAS appeal in a May verdict that likely diminishes Blatter's hopes of victory.

Speaking to reporters before appearing to give evidence at the closed-door hearing, Platini said Blatter's fate may already be sealed.

"I'm not sure if a decision hasn't already been made," he said, pledging to tell the truth about the infamous payment "for the umpteenth time".

Decision may take weeks

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said the hearing may not wrap up until 7:00pm, citing delays. A decision may take several weeks.

Blatter insists Fifa owed money to the ex-Juventus star. Platini had been hired by Fifa as a consultant from 1999 to 2002 and had apparently not received his full compensation.

Fifa's ethics committee was not convinced by the explanation, banning both Blatter and Platini for eight years in December. Those suspensions were however cut to six years on appeal in February.

CAS, however, judged Fifa's sanctions against Platini "too severe" and trimmed his suspension to four years.

Blatter is also the target of a criminal investigation by Swiss prosecutors over the Platini payment and alleged mismanagement during his 17-year tenure as Fifa president.

He was replaced in that job by fellow Swiss national and former Uefa number two Gianni Infantino in February.

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